ABSTRACT: Pancreas transplantation is a widely accepted procedure that can efficiently restore euglycemia and prevent progression of complications. In most instances, the limiting factor for deceased donor organ transplantation is the availability and quality of the available organs. Living donor pancreas transplant was introduced at the University of Minnesota in 1979. Because of the potential risks for the donor and the technical challenges in the recipient operation, this procedure has not become very popular since then. In 1999, in the attempt to decrease the morbidity associated with open distal pancreatectomy, the first laparoscopic donor distal pancreatectomy with hand-assisted technique was performed at the same institution. In 2000, the FDA approved the robotic surgical system Da Vinci for general use. Since then, the system has been extensively used at our institution to perform living donor nephrectomy. The only case reported worldwide of robotic distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy for living donor pancreas-kidney transplantation was successfully performed by our team in 2006 at the University of Illinois at Chicago and proved as a promising technique. The application of minimally invasive techniques has allowed an increased acceptance of the procedure among potential donors and may, therefore, increase the number of donors for this life-saving transplant. The initial results are encouraging and clearly prove feasibility.
Journal of hepato-biliary-pancreatic sciences. 10/2009; 17(2):97-100.